Payment for parking is lagging behind developments in other markets and industries. Parking customers, both on-street and in car parks, face a fragmented market offering a wide variety of payment options making the simple act of parking and paying complex and confusing as options are dependent on where they want to park and which payment app they have (or don't have). The National Parking Platform (NPP) is a local authority owned and DfT funded pilot project that brings customer experience into the 21st century by facilitating data exchange, digital payments, and a new way of delivering better parking and mobility services.
In essence, the NPP:
The NPP allows the customer to use their preferred service provider app (or integrated in-vehicle system) to find and pay for their parking at any participating location. The different service providers will compete for business by offering the best customer experience. The NPP also offers wider access to parking availability data leading to better journey planning, reducing circulating traffic searching for a place to park and the associated congestion and emissions.
The NPP can form a central and cost-efficient component of a local authority's parking technology infrastructure, enabling the supply of open data to app providers and enhancing the Council's customer service with the involvement of the Council's existing suppliers. It offers:
It enables Councils to make informed strategic decisions on the implementation of policies to:
The NPP has similar benefits for Private Operators, ensuring that:
NPP encourages competition and innovation in the market by managing data on payments and vehicles using open data standards and interfaces (APDS/ISO TS- TS 5206-1), making it easier for systems to communicate with each other. Barriers to entry for new players are removed, new services can gain access to the market, and a stable base for investors is created. As a data source for parking place information, the NPP will also promote high quality data as the data will become the primary source for information supporting parking payments. Innovators can use the data to introduce new ways to pay for parking services, enhance these services, integrate additional services, and reduce the cost of living for motorists. This aligns the parking industry to today's expectations of an integrated system for the range of different motorist charges.
Since 2019, the NPP is a strategic initiative from the parking industry with strong support from a wide range of partners including equipment and technology suppliers, commercial operators, Councils, and payment service providers. The pilot platform provides parking locations, tariffs and occupancy data from 11 local authorities to service providers and hence to customers. In addition, customers in Manchester, Oxford, Cheshire West and Chester and Coventry can now make payments through their service provider of choice at participating car parks and on-street locations. A working group of 19 local authorities all over the country is contributing to the NPP project, working with 28 private companies (equipment suppliers, service providers etc).